Although France and Italy are just across the water, when it comes to getting the perfect peach or nectarine, it can seem as if they are on the other side of the world. Grilling is an excellent way to bring out the best in stone fruit that threatens never to ripen. The hot grill caramelises the sugars and the heat and smoke brings out all those evocative flavours – perfection in this simple burrata salad that’s designed to keep autumn at bay.
Grilled nectarine and burrata salad with pickled onions, tomato and mint
While the nectarines should be firm, so they won’t fall apart on the grill, choose the ripest tomatoes you can find.
Prep 35 min
Cook 10 min
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 tbsp good-quality white wine vinegar
2 tsp caster sugar, or honey
Salt and pepper
40g pumpkin seeds
2 not-too-ripe nectarines
4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cucumber, cut in half lengthways, deseeded and cut into diagonal chunks
300g baby yellow or red tomatoes, halved
2 big handfuls mint leaves, roughly chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
Put the onion in a small bowl, add the vinegar and caster sugar, and toss to coat. Season and set aside.
Tip the pumpkin seeds into a small frying pan set over a medium heat and toast for a few minutes, shaking the pan every now and then, until lightly toasted all over. Tip out on to a plate and set aside.
Put a griddle pan on a medium-high heat. Run a sharp knife around the seam of the nectarines, pull them in half and gently remove and discard the stones without damaging the flesh. Cut each half into quarters, then put in a bowl, toss with a tablespoon of oil and season. When the griddle is smoking hot, grill the nectarine slices for a few minutes on each side, until char marks appear but they are still holding their shape (you can also do this under a hot grill).
Put the cucumber, tomatoes, mint and rocket in a large bowl, squeeze over the lemon juice, drizzle with a few tablespoons of oil and season well. Toss gently, then arrange on a platter or individual salad plates.
Break open the burrata and tear it into pieces over the salad, tucking in the nectarine slices as you do. Scatter over the pickled onions, dress with their pickling liquor and season the lot with freshly ground black pepper, a little sea salt and a final drizzle of your best olive oil. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and eat at once.
And for a simple flex …
This salad would also be delicious with slices of cured jamón in the mix. If you are avoiding dairy, leave out the burrata and serve on garlic-rubbed toasts.
UK readers: click to buy these ingredients from Ocado